Wednesday, October 26, 2011

making note of

A lovely, companionable book that I came across recently is Greene on Capri, A Memoirpublished in 2000.  The author is Shirley Hazard.  The Greene is Graham Greene, the marvelous writer, prickly person, and Capri, of course, is the astonishingly beautiful cliff-made island off the coast near Naples Italy.

Shirley Hazard did not make notes of (nor did she tape-record) the conversations she had with Graham Greene. Here is what she says about recall:

Over our years of Capri meetings, I seldom made "notes" after conversation with Graham and Yvonne.  An underlying intention to record changes the nature of things, blighting spontaneity and receptivity: an imposition.  Like the snapping of photographs.  In our appointments diary I sometimes find hieroglyphic reference to the evenings at Gemma, a few words of recall.  One remembers long and well, and without prompting, what is truly interesting--the moments that, pondered, shared, revised, become part of the inward legend.  

(She means by "snapping of photographs" here the substitute activity of looking, not the kind of photographing wherein the photographer/artist shares the life of her subject and, oh, can capture it in a still image so that we can share a bit of the life too [see Sue's wonderful photos in the next blog below here!].  Don't you think so?)  Sketching, for me, feeds my inward legend, my map of significant images.  And you?  How do you recall salient features of people or places that you come across?

sketch while visiting Leelanau

Thursday, October 13, 2011

bird in the marsh

Sue sent me this yesterday, and she added:

I had a great day today, and I thought you would love to be here sketching. The marshes are starting to turn their golden autumn hue. I went to Cockle Cove for the afternoon to shoot heron in the marsh. I had a fabulous time with all kinds of birds, including this red tail hawk, which was about 15 feet away from me. I had decided to take one more walk around before heading home, and was I ever glad I did! He zoomed into a tree about 15 feet from me. I got quite a few good photos because he was so close. He was very loud too-- bleating away, especially when he took off.

Isn't the bird in the marsh incredible! the bird in the marsh and, OH, the bird in the marsh, a-flapping.
(And wow, these photos!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


yong (ei)

Steve Jobs is dead.
Any other news today seems pale in comparison.  He is a person of value, big, enduring.

Yong (ei in Japanese) is the Chinese character for eternal, forever.  The ) jag at the top is a dian, a dot stroke.  The rest of the character is the character for water, swei.  You can see three long strokes, like rivulets, like current in a stream:  swei.   The ancient depiction for swei is very similar, but even more like water's current.  Steve Jobs is one of the few people in my lifetime who is and will be with us, clearly, always, like a dot in the stream/ like the stream itself.